Hiking in the popular Nahal Amud
Hiking along Nahal Amud is deservedly extremely popular. Its wadi starts by the town of Meron and descends to the Sea of Galilee, and there are a number of hikes along its length. Each is spectacular, although in different ways. The hike described below starts close to Meron, is circular, and is the most popular. Other options are listed.
Time: About 2¾ hours.
Distance: 6½ Km.
Type of hike: Circular.
Difficulty: This is a mainly easy trail. However, there are 230 steps down to the wadi (and later up from the wadi). There are a few rocky areas, but they are not difficult.
Directions: Enter into Waze “Nahal Amud” and click on “Nature Reserve Nahal Amud.” There are many entries for Nahal Amud on Waze, so make sure you have the correct one. The turn off for this particular hike is from Route 866.
Admission. This is a site of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. A gift shop sells cold drinks, limited hot drinks and snacks. There is a covered area with picnic benches adjacent to the gift shop. Make sure to obtain a brochure (currently only in Hebrew) with a map. Admission is 8.00 am to 4.00 pm Sunday to Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the summer and similar hours during the winter except for Friday 8.00 am to 3,.00 pm. Their telephone number is 04 699 9984. This is their website.
The trailhead starts from close to the gift shop. Continue walking along the exit road directly opposite the gift shop and you will soon see a broad footpath on your right. It is not marked but you will see that everyone is walking along it. There is a garbage area surrounded by a white metal covering on the right at the beginning of the trail. There is a working water tap on the other side of the path. You will soon see that this is a red-marked trail. Continue along this trail until you come to a British-built concrete lookout (#2 on the map). It was built after the 1936-1939 Arab revolt to guard a former water pumping station at Ein Yakim that supplied water to Safed during the British Mandate.
Continue down the steps on the red-marked trail until you reach the spring of Ein Yakim. After exploring the spring, take the black-marked trail sign-posted to Sekhvi Pools.
Shortly, the path splits into two. Continue straight ahead on the blue-marked trail which runs parallel to and a bit above the stream. This part of the hike has little shade. If it is very hot, you may wish to make this a one-way hike and go along the black-marked trail on the other side of the stream, as this provides a lot more shade.
On your right you will notice an aqueduct. It had two functions. It is on a higher level than the descending stream and allowed for water from the Ein Yakim spring to be used for agriculture in the bustan (orchard) (#7). The water also provided power for a flour mill (#10).
The blue trail descends closer to the stream and reaches the Sekhvi Pools (#11). This is one of a number of pools you will pass that can be used for swimming. None are particularly deep and are no more than up to an adult’s waist.
By the pool, cross over the stream. To return to your staring point, turn left in the direction signposted to Ein Yakim and Amud Stream Picnic Area. This part of the trail has considerable beauty since it adjoins the stream for much of the way.
This path eventually meets up with the blue-marked trail after crossing the stream. Turn to the right on the black-marked trail in the direction of Ein Yakim. At Ein Yakim, take the red-marked trail up the steps to your car.
There are a number of ways for lengthening this trail:
1. You can start your hike from the outskirts of Meron and take the Nahal Meron trail. This rocky trail joins up with Nahal Amud at Ein Yakim, a distance of 2.5 km. Enter “Nahal Meron” into Waze and click on “חניון נחל מירון.” There is parking here. You go under the bridge to get to the beginning of the trail.
2. From the Sekhvi Pools, continue along Nahal Sekhvi to Safed, a distance of 2.5 Km. This will bring you the Old Cemetery at Safed. A really nice hike is to start at Meron and hike all the way to Safed. After walking up from the cemetery to the main city road (Jerusalem St.), take a taxi back to Meron.
There are also other entry points into Nahal Amud. An exceptionally nice hike starts a short distance beyond the Sea of Galilee on Route 8077. Enter into Waze “Nahal Amud.” This will take you along Route 8077 in the direction of Hukok. Waze will direct you into Kibbutz Hukok. However, shortly after turning onto Route 8077 look for the signpost to Nahal Amud. There is parking on the side of the road. You can go in either direction, but going up the wadi is exceptional. Note the tall pillar not far from Route 8077 by Ein Amud. Amud means a pillar in Hebrew and Nahal Amud is called this because of this pillar. Hike as far as you like. A reasonable place to turn around is at the water carrier. Going in the other direction from the other side of Route 8077 takes you to three important caves in the rock face inhabited in prehistoric times.
The aqueduct was used for bringing water to the orchard and driving the mill.
These are the Sekhvi Pools. There are several pools on this trail in which one can swim.
This is the amud (column) of Nahal Amud. It is not seen on this part of the hike but close to Ein Amud and Route 8077.